Market Visit: Geeking Out at Pearl Paradise’s Annual Pearl Ruckus

An invitation to a private annual weekend affair lured my inner pearl nerd to Los Angeles for the first time

The 7th Annual Pearl Ruckus kicks off in Los Angeles this evening, and I’m giddy at the fact that I’ll actually be there this year! I’ve written about the Ruckus and have had a standing invitation to attend courtesy of Jeremy Shepherd, the organizer and founder of, but the party always conflicts with shows that happen in New York City at the end of July. This year, however, Jeremy and his wife, Hisano, the talented designer behind the little h line, rescheduled the dates so as not to conflict with those shows, leaving me open to tap into my airline miles to attend.

This is not a typical industry event. For starters, some jewelry consumers will mingle with familiar faces in the pearl world like the Shepherds, Blair Beavers (managing editor of, Tahitian pearl farmer Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearl, Mexican pearl specialist Douglas McLaurin of Sea of Cortez Pearls, and more. There will be education, including a nuclei presentation from Mike Rivers and a report on jewelry designers using pearls in innovative ways by yours truly, shared meals and cocktails, and some jewelry-making! Hisano instructed us to bring our beading tools and materials if we wanted to get creative, which I’m particularly excited about because I’ve had two gorgeous strands of pearls in my possession that have been waiting for me for years to string them. I will be in pearl-geek heaven.


I brought my beading supplies for a fun weekend of education and jewelry-making with other pearl fans, courtesy of 

This is also my first time in LA. It’s weird because I’ve traveled all over the world—I’ve been to Brazil about six times—but no jewelry show or event has ever brought me to LA until now. This means I’m also squeezing in a little fun, courtesy of my friend and private jeweler Rebecca Shukan, who is putting me up in her guesthouse before and after my pearl weekend. Thus far, we’ve visited the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum (so cool!) and noshed on unbelievable Chinese at Din Tai Fung (order a Taipei from the cocktail menu). I’ve even had a celebrity run-in of sorts: Rebecca’s husband knows Frank Longo, the creator of the weekly Spelling Bee puzzle in The New York Times Magazine, so I’m all starry-eyed over that connection. (That puzzle is crazy addictive.)


Close-up of the biggest tar pit at La Brea. It reminded me a bit of a body of “water” in New Jersey that my commuter train passes en route to the city.


This Columbian mammoth skeleton, along with many others, was pulled from the tar pits. 

Game on, weekend! I’m ready to talk pearls and report back to you all about it next week. Hope your weekends are just as fun.  

The Style 360 blog is your editorial source for the newest jewelry, trends, market analysis, trade show insights, designer profiles, and more.

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